Today’s job market has shifted strongly towards freelancing. It is often more affordable to hire a freelance director of photography than to pay the benefits, taxes and other costs associated than in hiring a permanent employee. It also opens the door to being able to hire a director of photography with greater experience on a part-time basis.
What to look for
A director of photography brings together all your photography under a single artistic vision, ensuring that your images are created with similar light, layout and other aspects of the art. But what should you look for in a good candidate? They should have a solid education from a reputable school and a portfolio that reflects that education. They need to be able to work in a team environment and communicate effectively with members of the photography team as well as other managers and executives within the business. They need to be able to demonstrate that they can work with other creative professionals within the business under a unified artistic theme.
Know what you need
Does their portfolio reflect work you'd like to see used for your requirements?
Take a good, hard look at their portfolio. Does it reflect qualities you’d like to see used in your project? It’s important to like the work and feel that it’s a good meld for your project before hiring a director of photography for the job.
Do they have the experience to expand your creative vision?
It’s important to not only see the projects they’ve worked on, but what they’ve gained and how they’ve grown with each successive project. It allows you to see how they’ve developed as a creative professional and what they can bring to your project.
Are they known in the industry?
As with any new hire, checking references is vital, but beyond that, you’ll want to see if they’re known for creating quality work in previous projects. Contact the references and ask not only what kind of work they did, but how well they were adapting to changes in the project.
Questions to ask a potential candidate
What type of tone will you bring to the project?
You’ll want to have at least a general idea of in what direction they will take your project.
What elements do you bring into your work to project particular themes?
Some people in this field will use light while others will use symbolism and focus to achieve the same goal.
Have you worked on similar projects?
You don’t need to have your project be the one they cut their teeth on in technique or methodology.
What do you think you can do for our project?
Creative professionals bring much to the table beyond their skills. They bring ideas, ways of getting the job done and similar aspects that can help the project go more smoothly.
How would you work through a tricky shot?
Seeing how someone would solve a problem gives you insight into how they’ll deal with real-world problems with the project.